Police secured the premises of a school in Dubai on Wednesday after 'suspicious activity' by a parent was reported. Satish Kumar / The National
Police secured the premises of a school in Dubai on Wednesday after 'suspicious activity' by a parent was reported. Satish Kumar / The National

Headteachers: new inspection regime will weed out the private schools failing pupils

A new round of government-run inspections for private schools will weed out those that are performing poorly and failing their pupils, headteachers said.

Education leaders responded to the news on Wednesday that private schools, along with government schools, would be the focus of a new regime aimed at improving standards. Hussain Al Hammadi said British and American schools and others would have to show their standards are up to scratch.

It followed the announcement earlier this week that government schools across the country would be unified to follow one single curriculum, and that English would be more widely taught.

The Emirati School Model will see the Ministry of Education and Abu Dhabi Education Council-run schools run the same.

Yesterday, some headteachers said they welcomed greater scrutiny to deliver better on English, maths and science in particular.

Clive Pierrepont, director of communications at the private operator Taaleem, which runs nine schools in the UAE, claimed some that use the titles 'British' and 'American' do not follow those curriculums or their standards.

“Private schools are already under intense scrutiny with regular inspections by the education authorities. Vulnerable schools are the ones that purport to claim that they follow a certain curriculum and are not," he said.


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He pointed to a study that suggested up to 70 per cent of schools that report to be teaching the American curricula are not actually accredited by any state standards body in the United States.

“We are regularly inspected by a team of experienced educators. We also have external appraisals and accreditation from overseas," he said.

“It’s the ones that are purporting to be quasi-British schools or quasi-American schools, that are the ones that are going to be under pressure because they might not be meeting the standards that the Ministry of Education will set.”

In May of this year, Adec announced that 23 private schools are banned from registering new pupils because of poor performance. Almost half followed either the American or British curriculum.

“British schools have set standards to follow, but if you look at American standards unless they follow a US state standard, then they can issue high school diploma saying that they graduated which is virtually worthless," he said.

“Internationally accredited schools should have nothing to fear. It is schools that claim to be offering something that they are not that should be concerned. We often deal with very upset parents who apply to our schools and whose sons and daughters have been at one of these schools – they came with reports of straight A’s but when you assess the students for attainment and progress – they are somewhat below their grade standard."

Rajendran Padmanabhan, head of operations of the Abu Dhabi Global Indian International School in Abu Dhabi, agreed that those that barely follow the curriculums of those home countries would not fare well.

“Private schools such as our and those that follow international standards should not be affected at all," he said.

Brendon Fulton, principal of Dubai British School, said he understood that some schools do not "undertake any form of external testing".

He said they are "essentially benchmarking their students performance against nothing, and therefore the grades can be meaningless".

"Parent disappointment and frustration then comes in when their children move to other institutions that do benchmark, and perhaps they are not doing as well as previously thought," he said.

A major concern among officials and parents is the need of more than 60 per cent of government school pupils to go through additional 'foundation' courses to improve their maths and English, before their attend university, because their education is not up to university standards.

“Our curriculum is fully aligned to the National Curriculum of England and so students sit terminal GCSE and A-Level examinations – providing an uncompromising benchmark," Mr Fulton said.

"Students who return to their home countries during their formal schooling are also able to transition seamlessly into their new schools. If schools in Dubai are not appropriately benchmarking, then there would be no qualifiable way of ensuring this.

“I see the need for this initiative, however, I would hope that decision makers are pragmatic enough to accept that schools such as DBS, with external academic outcomes significantly above the UK and international averages... should not need to undergo such scrutiny.”


Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

Diriyah project at a glance

- Diriyah’s 1.9km King Salman Boulevard, a Parisian Champs-Elysees-inspired avenue, is scheduled for completion in 2028
- The Royal Diriyah Opera House is expected to be completed in four years
- Diriyah’s first of 42 hotels, the Bab Samhan hotel, will open in the first quarter of 2024
- On completion in 2030, the Diriyah project is forecast to accommodate more than 100,000 people
- The $63.2 billion Diriyah project will contribute $7.2 billion to the kingdom’s GDP
- It will create more than 178,000 jobs and aims to attract more than 50 million visits a year
- About 2,000 people work for the Diriyah Company, with more than 86 per cent being Saudi citizens


Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

The specs

Engine: 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6

Power: 540hp at 6,500rpm

Torque: 600Nm at 2,500rpm

Transmission: Eight-speed auto

Kerb weight: 1580kg

Price: From Dh750k

On sale: via special order

Ain Dubai in numbers

126: The length in metres of the legs supporting the structure

1 football pitch: The length of each permanent spoke is longer than a professional soccer pitch

16 A380 Airbuses: The equivalent weight of the wheel rim.

9,000 tonnes: The amount of steel used to construct the project.

5 tonnes: The weight of each permanent spoke that is holding the wheel rim in place

192: The amount of cable wires used to create the wheel. They measure a distance of 2,4000km in total, the equivalent of the distance between Dubai and Cairo.


Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded


2000: Israel withdraws from Lebanon after nearly 30 years without an officially demarcated border. The UN establishes the Blue Line to act as the frontier.

2007: Lebanon and Cyprus define their respective exclusive economic zones to facilitate oil and gas exploration. Israel uses this to define its EEZ with Cyprus

2011: Lebanon disputes Israeli-proposed line and submits documents to UN showing different EEZ. Cyprus offers to mediate without much progress.

2018: Lebanon signs first offshore oil and gas licencing deal with consortium of France’s Total, Italy’s Eni and Russia’s Novatek.

2018-2019: US seeks to mediate between Israel and Lebanon to prevent clashes over oil and gas resources.

Leap of Faith

Michael J Mazarr

Public Affairs



Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices


Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

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